Confession time: When I was in high school, I was obsessed with Justin Bieber. It was all-consuming. On Valentine's Day during my senior year, I went with my mom to see Never Say Never in theaters, and together, we marveled at the natural drumming abilities Bieber had even as a 2-year-old. At that point in my life, he seemed like my ideal guy. I loved immature musicians — as evidenced by the boy who had recently dumped me right after I had driven two hours to see one of the "gigs" he had begged me to attend. Me and J-Biebs, it seemed, could work, not least because we both had similarly unsophisticated taste in food.
Bieber still makes some limited food choices, as we learned from his recent Vogue profile, which had a standout line about his affinity for eating potato chips and grapes together. Back in 2010 though, Justin Bieber was known to share his endearingly basic meals on social media. These included Tim Horton's plain bagels, cereal, spaghetti, and dinners out at T.G.I. Friday's. His love of Sour Patch Kids was also well-documented after he was hit in the head with a box of them that had been thrown on stage by a fan during a concert. Talk about sour then sweet.
Eight years later, I've grown up. Or at least my palate has. Unlike Bieber, I'm not married, I don't currently and have never owned any homes, and "find a therapist" has been on my new year's resolution list for the last three years. Bieber, on the other hand, has a new wife, was at one time considering purchasing a 5,564-square-foot L.A. home for $9 million, and though it wasn't exactly a success, recently attended a weeklong intensive group-therapy retreat. Despite all the adult-like things going on in J-Bieb's life, I feel I have outgrown the boy I used to watch YouTube videos of for hours at a time because my taste has changed. Not my taste in men so much but my taste in food.
In the recent Vogue piece, writer Rob Haskell notes that potato chips and grapes are the only foods Bieber has in his hotel suite and that while being interviewed, the pop star ate the two snacks at the same time. Together, they conjure images of a kindergartener’s snack time. Honestly, potato chips could have subbed in for Cheez-Its, and grapes for baby carrots, in my childhood lunch of choice. When I read this tidbit in the Vogue piece, I literally pictured Justin eating the chips and grapes out of plastic sandwich bags, imagining they had been lovingly packed by his mom.
It's not that I think I'm now somehow better than potato chips and grapes — I would gladly still eat the salty-sweet combination of foods if someone offered them to me this second — it's just that they're no longer snacks I gravitate towards. Once your palate changes, there's really no reversing it. Since food is very much at the center of my world, I guess this means Bieber — with his full glasses of milk and coffee chain bagels — and I are no longer compatible. (A relief for Hailey, I'm sure.)
But hearing that he's still snacking the same way he was when I first heard his pre-pubescent voice on the radio makes me incredibly happy. It takes me back to that Valentine's Day I spent with my mom at the Carmike Cinema, a time before J-Bieber was talking about Xanax and celibacy to Vogue, a time before I'd been ruined by my first chewy bites of a real New York bagel. I wouldn't go back to that time permanently because good food (and good celebrity gossip) have become my lifeblood, but I might give Bieber’s hotel snack a try — just for old time's sake.